This article is Part 1 of a two-part series on the proposed plans for developments on the pier of Cataraqui Bay, also known as Elevator Bay, off of King Street West. Part 2 can be read here.
This past spring, Kingston Waterfront Developments Ltd. submitted a sixth site plan to the City for the proposed development of the former grain elevator pier at 1110 King Street West.
According to online advertising, “1110 King West is a once in a lifetime project due to the premier location along Kingston’s Waterfront. RE/MAX RISE has worked with the development team for over a year in planning and execution prior to launch.”
Currently, units are advertised for between $400,000 to $1.8 Million with a $10,000 deposit.
The development proposed for the site consists is of two high-rise condominium buildings and a commercial building on the pier. Cumulatively, the apartment buildings are proposed to accommodate 343 dwelling units, while the single-storey commercial building will provide approximately 1,000 square metres of use for a marina on the northwestern portion of the pier. The full development would be adjacent to the already existing Commodore’s Cove townhouses.
The City is currently reviewing a “site plan control application” for the development, which looks at the functionality of the site — making sure that the proposal is consistent with the zoning permissions on the site. This includes City planners and other departments looking at the building sighting, access to and through the site, parking, landscaping, stormwater management servicing, and more.
The file Planner, Michael Szilagyi, and the Acting Manager of Policy Planning, Sukriti Agarwal, presented at Councillor Bridget Doherty’s ‘Spring Councillor Connect’ meeting on Thursday, Jun. 1, 2021, for the Portsmouth District Community Association. They provided a status update on the file.
Szilagyi explained that the technical review process is “being evaluated by other departments, and external agencies and they will provide comments. I haven’t yet taken the time to do a deep dive into this submission; I tend to wait for all, or at least the majority of the comments to come back before I do my evaluation.”
Szilagyi said of the sixth proposal, “The most significant change here has been that the parking structure over on the north side, between the existing townhouses, has been eliminated and it’s now just surface parking.”
Szilagyi pointed out that technical review process is not to be confused with a zoning bylaw amendment, noting that “there has been no request to amend any of the performance standards on the site. Currently, I’ve noted performance standards that are unique to this site: the townhouse development is permitted with up to 38 units (obviously those exist today), an additional 343 units have the 210 per cent lot coverage. There are no height restrictions, there are no setback requirements, and no density requirements, minimum or maximum. Those are a bit unique. Those are some of the provisions that we need to deal with through this application. We don’t have the ability to change any of those permissions through this process.”
The zoning for the site has been in place since 1987, with an amendment to that zone passed in 2007. The property is currently designated ‘Harbour Area,’ ‘Residential,’ and ‘Environmental Protection Area’ in the City of Kingston’s Official Plan (OP).
Bruce Bursey, who moderated the Zoom meeting on behalf of the Portsmouth District Community Association, read out various questions and concerns about the development that were written in via chat.
“Imagine a 25 floor building being constructed in your backyard, that is what we will experience,” one homeowner (whose name was not shared) pointed out, “The City’s current noise and construction bylaws appear insufficient to protect the residents of the Cove. The building permit process is closed to the applicant and city staff. How can we who live here protect our quality of life during what will be a long noisy, dusty, impactful construction phase?”
While pointing out that development of the pier had been in the works as long ago as the 1980s and this had been known by homeowners in the Cove when they purchased, Szilagyi sympathized with having to live near a construction zone. “It’s not common,” he pointed out, “but Council does have an opportunity to impose additional controls. There are always standard items where you know dust needs to be controlled. Access needs to be maintained for residents and for emergency vehicles, those kinds of things that are just standard across the board. But in terms of noise, sometimes they can limit the hours.”
“It is a balance of needs. Knowing that that construction, even if it takes two years or whatever, it may be is temporary, but yes, I think there are some opportunities through cCuncil to to add extra control with a reasonable sense to it.” Szilagyi said, encouraging the residents to submit their concerns to him in writing so that they could be included in a report to the City Planning Committee.
Other concerns centred around the maintenance of the “Ribbon of Life” access and preservation of the shoreline. Agarwal, Manager of Policy and Planning, fielded this, saying, “With respect to the Ribbon of Life, those policies are currently in place in our Official Plan and regulations are proposed to be included in the new Zoning Bylaw, which is anticipated to be brought forward for Council’s consideration in 2022. We released the first draft of the new Zoning Bylaw in 2016. And in that draft we included some transition provisions around applications that would already be in process when that Zoning Bylaw gets approved. Based on those transition provisions, which I want to reiterate are still in draft form, this application would be able to proceed based on the zoning that is in place. So the Ribbon of Life will not have an effect on the current zoning of the property, based on those draft transition provisions.”
The impact on the view from Lake Ontario Park was another concern. Szilagyi responded that, “This isn’t a protected view and this site already had the planning permissions. So, there is, like I said, no restriction on height on the site.”
Several other questions and concerns were fielded, but, in the end, both Agarwal and Szilagyi encouraged residents to have their concerns recorded to be shared with the Planning Committee at their public meeting by reaching out to Michael Szilagyi via email at [email protected] and noting the project number D11-011-2018.
A date for the public meeting has not been set.
Part 2 of this series was published on Thursday, Jul. 22, 2021, and looks at the history of this site, as well as the more recent history of proposed developments for the site, which have led to the situation outlined here.